Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 NFL Draft Profile: Guard, Braden Smith

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 01: Auburn offensive lineman Braden Smith speaks to the media during NFL Combine press conferences at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 01: Auburn offensive lineman Braden Smith speaks to the media during NFL Combine press conferences at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

In our continued draft profile series, we go back to the offensive line for the third time and look into offensive guard Braden Smith out of Auburn a potential late second or early third day pick at a possible position of need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With round one of the NFL draft about three weeks away the speculation and smokescreens are flying around like crazy by draft “experts”… and NFL teams, so it is tough to get a bead on what some teams are really thinking in round one.

By trading up into the top five the Jets and recent “reports” indicate the Bills are attempting to as well it is pretty obvious that they are looking to get one of the top quarterbacks. Meaning that some talented non-quarterbacks could drop down to the Buccaneers at the seven spot.

After the signing of center Ryan Jensen Dirk, Koetter came out at the NFL League meetings and stated that Ali Marpet will be moving to left guard and that J.R. Sweezy was healthy and would stay at right guard, so guard may not be as big of a need for the Buccaneers as it was before free agency began but again you can never have enough offensive linemen.

"Ali’s going to play left guard. We’re going to play Ali next to Donovan. There’s not a technical reason."

Now again, if Quenton Nelson falls to seven he will be the Buccaneers pick so don’t think that they won’t address the offensive line, so if Nelson is not there they may look at other options at offensive linemen on late day two or early day three like big bodied offensive guard Braden Smith from Auburn.

Braden Smith’s College Career

As a 6’6” 303 pound starting left guard for the Auburn Tigers he has the well-proportioned body of an NFL caliber guard and last season as a senior he was selected as a First Team All-American in the SEC conference.

Playing as a true freshman he was selected to the SEC All Freshman team after appearing in all thirteen games, and then for the next three season he started in 41 consecutive games at right guard and appeared in every game during his four years at Auburn (53) including starting one game at right tackle. He was also a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four years at Auburn.

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At the combine in February he measured quite well at 6’6” 315 pounds with a 32 1/4” reach and 9 3/8” hands, and was able to do a very impressive 35 reps on the bench which was the second highest total for the offensive linemen who participated. He also had a 9’5” broad jump which was the third highest by the offensive linemen who participated.


At 6’6” 315 pounds he has the size to play in the NFL as an offensive guard and with his impressive bench press and broad jump at the combine he has the power to be a road grading run blocker who can sustain the initial hit, stand his ground and push the rusher back. Which helped the Tigers to rush for 3056 yards for 218.3 yards/game and 4.8 yards/attempt and a total of 34 rushing touchdowns in his senior season.

Showing that he has good strong hands and can keep the defender where he wants him giving the runner enough time to get by or the quarterback enough time to pass the ball. As a pass blocker he showed that he had a good base to keep from getting power rushed back into the quarterback.


When blocking at times he did not have a quick reaction time or the ability to see different rushes and had the hardest time against the opposing defensive line stunts.

He had a hard time with his footwork to shift out and catch a player blitzing through the B gap, and also shows issued when asked to pull and block on a quarterbacks rollout or for a running play to the outside.

He does not have the flexibility in his lower body making him appear stiff and appear off balance at times when rushed.

Why the Buccaneers Need Braden Smith?

As is the norm you can never have enough offensive lineman, and if they are in on Quenton Nelson they may be looking to add guard depth as J.R. Sweezy is coming off a season ending injury and did not have the impact that they Buccaneers thought he would last season.

Jameis Winston took a lot of hits and missed the first games of his professional career due to injury and the run game was awful, so any help to the offensive line even if at depth is a key improvement for the team.

He is a much better road grading run blocking guard then he is a pass blocking guard which will clearly help in the Buccaneers run game but may not help Winston to stay healthy.

Will the Buccaneers Draft Braden Smith?

With Braden Smith being a late day two or more likely an early day three selection meaning basically rounds three thru seven, and without the Buccaneers having a round three draft pick due to the JPP trade. It is very unlikely that the Buccaneers would select him before the fifth round in my opinion due to what I have seen in his blocking deficiencies.

As mentioned above the Buccaneers could always use offensive line depth but I think that Braden Smith just has too many deficiencies for the Buccaneers to spend their fourth round pick on him and he could be gone by their fifth round selection, and the Buccaneers are interested in the continued development of 2016 fifth round pick and converted guard Caleb Benenoch. So my feeling is that the Buccaneers will likely pass on Smith and go for another guard especially if they some how manage to have Nelson fall to them at seven.

Next: Buccaneers Draft Profile: Defensive End Bradley Chubb

Continue to check back each day for a daily draft profile to see whether or not these players should, would, or could be the next member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Tell me your thoughts on offensive guard Braden Smith and his chance of being a Buccaneer in the comments section or tweet me directly @ND1Bucsfan and continue to read and enjoy all of the draft profiles.